Thursday, August 18, 2016

Money Management vs. the Pythagorean Theorem

Growing up, kids and teens learn about the Pythagorean Theorem, ionic compounds, and how to diagram compound sentences. But after they finish school, do they actually remember all the information surrounding these topics? Maybe. How about actually applying these skills in the real world? Eh, probably not. Don’t get me wrong, the Pythagorean Theorem is great. I can’t say I have done much with it since I learned it back in middle school, but I am sure there are people out there that really enjoy solving problems using the Pythagorean. And, yes, I had to look up the spelling of that word. I think I am getting a little bit off topic. Back to financial literacy. So, why aren’t we teaching our children and teenagers how to balance their checkbook or how to manage their credit score - both skills that will last a lifetime. Most people apply these skills daily, and at least monthly.  Why don’t we teach our youth basic money management skills?

I know that first paragraph was kind of a downer, but there is good news. Your credit union (us, U.S. Eagle) tries to actively fix this problem to the best of our ability. We do this through financial literacy. We go into schools and organizations and actually talk with our youth about budgeting, understating credit, saving money, and more. We discuss these topics in their classrooms and engage them in conversation to help them learn about these basic financial concepts.

Now, my personal favorite financial literacy tool is “Mad City Money”. Kids love this game, as well as parents and you’ll see why. Mad City Money is a simulation that gives kids a taste of the real world. They have a family, bills, and a steady income. Participants must decide where they are going to live, how they are going to commute, what they are going to eat, and much more. They discover how much internet costs, how expensive groceries and eating out can be, and…how much diapers cost! I find parents who participate in this game sometimes enjoy it more than their kids…

Through these presentations and simulations, our youth are learning more about these important financial topics. They are engaged and they are having fun. This is one way we hold true to the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”.  We encourage parents to bring in their kids or teens and teach them about the importance of saving their money in a savings account. Even if it just $5.00 per month. Getting into the habit of saving at a young age can really pay off in the long run.
If you are interested in facilitating financial literacy at your school or organization, please call Danielle at 505-342-8875.

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